Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced that businesses forced to shut due to local restrictions will be eligible for a grant that pays two-thirds of staff salaries.
Under the scheme, employers will not be required to contribute towards wages and will only be required to cover NICS and pension contributions – a small proportion of overall employment costs.
Business will only be able to participate in the scheme if they are subject to local restrictions. In addition, staff must be off work for a minimum of seven consecutive days.
Sunak said: “I have always said that we will do whatever is necessary to protect jobs and livelihoods as the situation evolves.
“The expansion of the Job Support Scheme will provide a safety net for businesses across the UK who are required to temporarily close their doors, giving them the right support at the right time.”
In addition, the chancellor revealed the government is increasing cash grants to businesses in England shut in local lockdowns to help support fixed costs.
These grants will be linked to rateable values, with up to £3,000 per month payable every two weeks, compared to the up to £1,500 every three weeks which was available previously.
The grant is aimed to benefit hundreds of thousands of businesses including restaurants, pubs, nightclubs, bowling alleys.
The devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will also reportedly benefit from a £1.3bn increase to their guaranteed funding for 2020-21.